I just watched President Obama’s speech on Wednesday defending the nuclear deal with Iran. The speech, in front of a friendly audience, was pretty insulting. First, he repeated misleading assertions about “anytime, anywhere” inspections (a condition applicable to declared sites, but apparently not applicable where they matter the most – at undeclared sites subject to Iranian obfuscation efforts). Second, he offered a weak rebuttal about legitimate concerns about unfrozen Iranian funds being funneled to terrorist activities (the regime would’ve funded terrorist activities with or without unfrozen assets, he argued). Finally, he again cast the debate in black-and-white terms: Congress approves the deal or we eventually go to war with Iran.
You earn trust by being a responsible part of the community of nations – a partner in protecting the global commons, facilitating fair trade and maintaining a liberal democracy in a part of the world that goes through governments like Kleenex. India earned U.S. trust; this was why the U.S. provided India – the world’s largest democracy – with assistance on its civilian nuclear program. (Another reason: Hedging geo-strategic bets against Pakistan and China).
Iran – a leading exporter of terrorism, American-killing EFPs in Iraq, and a global pain in the ass for decades -has done its best to earn America’s distrust. I keep picturing the ridiculous cat-and-mouse games that U.N. inspectors played in Iraq in the ’90s, as they attempted to track Saddam Hussein’s WMD program. History and past bad behavior suggest a similar experience in the coming years, if this deal is approved. A deal doesn’t guarantee that there will be no armed conflict with Iran in the future – but it definitely does buy the Iranian regime time to strengthen its conventional military capabilities, solidify its hold on power domestically and continue to flex its muscle across the region.
Meantime, here’s the president flexing his celebrity muscle in an effort to sway American public opinion in favor of the deal.